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#FreeLadyAnnSalem: Sign this petition calling for release of red-tagged journalist, unionists

A network of advocates kickstarted a change.org petition calling on the government to free 6 trade unionists and Lady Ann “Icy” Salem, an editor of red-tagged alternative publication Manila Today.

Salem and the unionists were among those arrested in a string of police operations in Metro Manila on Human Rights Day, December 10.

They were charged with possession of firearms and explosives, an allegation rights groups believe is fabricated.

In its petition, the Free Lady Ann Salem Network asserted that the recent arrests are “proof of the dangers of red-tagging.”

Several other groups have also denounced Salem’s arrest, which they deem as another move to silence the free press.

This is not the first time the Duterte administration has red-tagged and attacked journalists. Altermidya Network correspondent Frenchiemae Cumpio was arrested in Tacloban in February for allegedly bearing firearms after authorities raided two offices of various left-leaning groups. Non-government organization Karapatan, however, said the guns and improvised explosive devices recovered by the authorities were “planted in the rooms.”

Just recently, news agency CNN Philippines was also red-tagged by the government without basis. (READ: Gov’t platforms being used to attack, red-tag media)

The Free Lady Ann Salem Network emphasized in their petition that “being a critic and an advocate of people's rights and welfare...should not be grounds for officers of the law to violate our rights.”

“Icy’s arrest is proof that this administration is hell-bent on silencing the independent and critical Philippine media so it can manipulate the flow of information to the detriment of our people and our democracy,” the network said.

As of Monday, December 14, over 1,400 people have signed the petition.

Those who want to sign the petition may do so here. – Rappler.com